Before you go out and paddle, itís always recommended to plan ahead to help make sure you have a fun and safe paddling session. There are some necessary items you should have to ensure your own safety and enjoyment while you are on the trip.
Itís also important to have a paddle board that best suits you. For beginners, an all-around inflatable SUP board is a great choice. For more experienced paddlers who want to go long longer trips, a touring SUP is the better option.
There are a few things you need to take into consideration before actually going out to paddle.
- The wind and weather
- Your paddling location
- The tide and the river conditions
- Proper clothing
- PFD/life vests
- Communication and emergency
- Your equipment
In this post we will talk about what SUP equipment you need to ensure your safety on the water when you go out and paddle.
One of the reasons why paddle boarding became so popular in just a few years is that itís a very simple sport. There arenít really that much gear you need. You could simply grab your paddle and board and start to head out. But there are actually a few things you must take with you to ensure your safety when you paddle.
Different paddling activities require different equipment. For instance, you might need different gear for family fun with kids, exploration paddles, or maybe a paddle downwind with friends. You will also need to take your location, the distance you are going to paddle into consideration. You might need different gear for paddling along the coast, in a lake, a canal or down a river. The length of your trip is also a factor you should consider, for example, you will need different equipment for a short SUP session with friends, a full day trip or a multi-day adventure. You might also encounter different paddling conditions on your trip as well, which will also require different gear.
Generally, shorter paddles will require less gear than longer ones. But there are items that you should consider taking no matter what you do, where you go and how long youíll be going. Items you should bring to every SUP session include a leash, a PFD, a method of communication, the suitable clothing, a dry bag, a snack, a drink and possibly your sunglasses.
Below is more details about these paddle equipment:
A leash is essential and itís important to have the right attachment system to your body.
A PFD is strongly recommended whether itís for increased confidence on the water, or just for emergency. There are several different types of PFDs and make sure you choose the right type for yourself and the kind of paddling you are doing.
Method of communication:
A method of communication is necessary as you can use it to raise an alarm if you get in trouble. A whistle will be good enough if you are paddling on a lake or close to shore. But most of the time, a mobile phone is a more versatile choice. Make sure itís fully charged and put it in a waterproof phone case in case you fall into the water. But even a smart phone is not suitable for all situations. For instance, you might not get good phone signal if you are paddling on a remote location. In cases like this, a VHF is a more suitable choice. Just make sure you have the appropriate certification to use it.
What to wear:
Clothing is also an important aspect that many people ignore when they prepare for a SUP trip. The key is to dress for being in the water as well as on it. Much as you donít want to fall in, sometimes itís not up to you. Extra layers in a waterproof jacket will be enough for you to handle all the possible changes in the weather. Also, consider wearing a hat to protect yourself from the sun if you are going out on a sunny day.
You can use a dry bag for storing your spare clothes and other things you wang to take with you and keep dry like your car key, and wallet, etc. If you are going for a longer-than-usual trip, you might also consider bring some food to help keep your energy levels up. Also, take a drink to keep you hydrated out on the water, especially on a warm day.
On a colder day, you might also need a hot flask to keep you warm and your energy levels up. Sunglasses is also worth considering, but youíll need to tie them on. Polarized sunglasses will allow you to see more in the water, so if falling is expected or you wang to swim during your paddling session, you might want to consider it as well.
If you are going to a new place, a map, either paper or electronic, would come in handy when you need to identify where you are or find a safe landing location.
For longer SUP trips, you might want to consider bringing the following as well:
A spare paddle
Itís not uncommon for paddles to break during paddling. So having a spare paddle can make the difference between having a ruined day and a great day out. And since you are likely to a 3-piece paddle, itís extremely easy to bring a spare one. You can easily tuck it under the bungees of your board.
A small first-aid kit is always great to have in case of an emergency.
Pump and repair kit:
If you use an inflatable board, you might also want to consider bring your pump and the repair kit.
For you are taking a multi-day trip, there are some items that are necessary to have.
- Sleeping bag
- Survival shelter/Bivvy bag
Most of them are necessary in a long trip, so you might also need a larger paddleboard with more storage space in order to take all these things with you. Make sure the board you use is able to carry the weight. If thereís equipment you want to keep dry, put them in a dry bag. And before you start to head out, check all your equipment and make sure they are in good working order. And if you are using a new piece of equipment, make sure you know how to use them.